When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle would take us to the Sussex County Fair every summer. (http://www.newjerseystatefair.org/html/list_events.cfm) I then didn't go for years, but, for the last couple of years, I've taken Frank, and he loves it. He looks forward to it all summer and asks me about once a week if it's time for the fair yet.
The SCF is what most of the country, I think, would call a state fair- there are a lot of livestock on display and horse shows, 4H kids show off the rabbits and chickens they've raised, and people compete for prizes in their crafts, like the quilts we saw. There is, of course, food, most of it horrifically unhealthy- I bought myself a funnel cake covered with cinnamon sugar and enjoyed it thoroughly. But I was only able to finish about half of it- it was simply too big for one person. Typically, I share funnel cake with my husband. I offered a piece that had no sugar on it to Frank. He looked at it like it was a poisonous snake and said in a strained voice, "No, thank you." Oh, well. if nothing else, I've taught the boy manners.
There are also a ton of rides and boardwalk style games. Unlike me, Frank is just not into looking at the cute widdle bunnies or watching someone shear a sheep. He's very quickly bored by such things, and the smell in the livestock area is utterly repulsive to him. (Yes, he is that kids who walks around the livestock sheds with his t-shirt pulled up over his mouth and nose. Oh well.)
No, Frank loves the rides, and the bigger and scarier the better. This is actually new- last year, he was still reasonably content with little kid rides, and I was safe buying him the unlimited ride bracelet and sending him by himself on stuff while I kept my feet planted firmly on terra firma. However, late last summer, you may recall, my little family went to Disney World for the first time. My husband, a complete Crazy Rides Fanatic, took Frank on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and ruined him for all those little kid rides forever. "Oh, Mommy, no. That ride is for little kids. I want to do that!" That inevitably meant something spinning, or a freefall, or something really fast. To give you an idea, the Ferris Wheel, which I love because I don't have a problem with heights, is "boring".
Great. Where is my husband when I need him? Oh, yeah, at work, starting a new job this week. Terrific.
This year, I bought myself an unlimited bracelet, too. The vast majority of the rides, there was no way they were letting a five-year-old go on alone, so, yeah, me and my vertigo had to take one for the team and go on them with him. It was definitely one of those "shut your eyes and think of England" moments.
It is a testament to how much I love my son, and how much I wanted him to have a good time. I get vertigo very easily. I can do a merry-go-round and a Ferris Wheel and some slides, but that is pretty much it. I'm still not sure I have forgiven the people I went to Great Adventure with as a senior in high school who talked me into riding the Runaway Train, my vertigo is that bad.
It's funny, up until fairly recently, I never thought about this as anything but a character flaw. Now that I know a lot more about sensory issues, though, I would definitely categorize me as an avoider when it comes to crazy rides. It is helping me to get a glimpse into the world of the child with SPD. I do not have SPD, by any stretch- my inability to enjoy a good carnival ride is not a disorder in that it doesn't really interfer with my life any, usually, because my husband is usually there to do all this stuff, and I sit and wait and hold everyone's stuff while they ride. But at the fair yesterday, it was definitely a problem, one I had to take a deep breath, think of England, and just soldier forward to overcome. I did it, and my seeker son had a marvelous time, even though I have a sneaking suspiscion he felt a bit sorry for me as I squeezed my eyes shut.
But next year, the kid is either bringing a friend or my husband is coming with us.